Year of Release: 2011
IMDB Rating: 4.6 / 10
Level of Awful: Low
Breast-O-Meter: 0 / 5
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
First of all, let it be stated for the record that I was given a screener copy of this movie for review, but that doesn’t mean that I have to say nice things about it. Let me also say that I’m not the biggest fan of found footage movies, purely because they can either turn out spectacularly (eg. the original Blair Witch Project) or as a horrible mess (eg. Cloverfield). Skew manages to pull off the genre quite well, mainly through blending in a number of other genres to keep the storyline going. On the whole it’s a good movie and worth a watch, but it does have a few problems. While it does deliver on the scares they are, at times, a bit few and far between and you have to sit through a lot of mundane dialogue before the next thing happens. The acting tends to come in waves, going from outstanding one minute to nightmarishly amateur the next (and there are only 3 people in the movie, so this is quite something). The main thing that actually does this movie in is not what it was so much as what it could have been: with all that was built up there was SO much more that could have been done with it. Anyways, enough of all that, let’s get on with the story!
Simon, Eva and Richard have been friends for ages and, as good friends do for other good friends, they’re getting ready to go on a little road trip to a friend’s wedding. Simon’s been having issues with his girlfriend Laura so she’s decided not to tag along (you will be reminded of this many times during the movie). Simon’s also a bit of an amateur film maker so he’s decided to record absolutely everything that happens on the road for reasons relating to a damaged childhood that you don’t really want to know about here. The trip starts out nice enough and everyone seems relatively alright with having a camera shoved in their faces for the greater part of the day, but things soon start to become a little weird for our little trio of travelling besties. First they run over a coyote (something that Eva seems to think should be reported to the highest echelons of power in the land), then the desk clerk at the motel they’re staying at is killed. To distract themselves from the terror Richard and Eva take turns filming their very private conversations that Simon mustn’t hear on Simon’s camera.
The trip becomes even stranger as we move on from coyotes to entire bus loads of people, shop owners and policemen dying wherever our little group ventures. To top that crazy, the camera also has this weird way of distorting people’s faces while recording and it has a tendency to show the viewer angry ghosts everywhere. Simon’s starting to get a little freaked out but feels mysteriously drawn to the camera and compelled to continue filming everything. Eva’s beginning to feel uncomfortable with his odd obsession and Richard, as the big strong boyfriend, won’t have someone unsettling his lady, so he starts going off on random angry outbursts that amount to nothing. The fact that they amount to nothing may have something to do with the fact that this guy can’t really pull off a facial expression other than loveable douche, but that’s beside the point.
The group must now make their to the wedding party in the face of Simon’s growing paranoia, a camera that may or may not be a portal to hell and an odd love triangle that doesn’t really go anywhere but serves to help heighten the “tension”.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Speedometers are just one of the many modern pieces of technology Jeeps come equipped with.
- Nobody appreciates how hard it is to pee and film at the same time.
- Woman’s intuition gives females the right to interfere in everyone’s business.
- Being 100% sure of something and knowing something are not the same thing.
- Roadkill should be left on the side of the road as carrion. It’s nature’s way.
- In the event of running down a coyote alcoholism can be used as a means of getting over the trauma.
- People should buy video cameras as a way of getting back at their parents for not being amazing photographers.
- Camera smashing is uncalled for and unfair.
- As an exception to the rule atheists are permitted to worship one deity / totem of their choice.
Year of Release: 2009
IMDB Rating: 3.6 / 10
Level of Awful: Low
Breast-O-Meter: 1.5 / 5
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Oh dear, another interesting concept that never quite reaches the level you want it to. Late Fee is an anthology collection of gruesome torture shorts that are meant to come together to shock the audience with a final twist ending. The ending itself is quite clever and, admittedly, I never saw it coming but something about this movie in its entirety just isn’t quite right. You can plainly see what it was going for but the problem is that you’re never actually frightened or completely grossed out or shocked by what you’re seeing and that’s where it all falls a little flat. Pity, because it had all the potential to be a really good movie.
It’s Halloween, a night for everyone to indulge in their most frightening of fancies. A couple (whose names are not given to us) decide that their Halloween is going to be spent at home watching the most gruesome and disturbing horror movies they can find. They head out to a video store that’s supposedly notorious for the films they are willing to carry on their shelves. The two settle on ‘The Pick-Up’ and ‘Damnation’, although the owner of the store quickly comes in to say that those two particular movies are banned in most of the world and shouldn’t have been placed on the shelf. After much begging and pleading the owner eventually relents and allows the couple to rent them with the caveat that the movies have to be returned by midnight. The store has a very strict late fee and warns the couple that they do not want to incur it. Not taking him very seriously the two head home to begin their evening of terror.
The first movie the couple watch is ‘The Pick-Up’. This is a delightful tale of a woman who will literally walk a hundred miles to meet up with her next client. Being a relatively high-class hooker the woman only picks the most distinguished gentlemen with which to share her company. This evening’s particular gentleman is a rather shy and reserved little thing whose wife just isn’t giving him what he needs. One look in his briefcase full of knives, razor blades and a dildo with nails in it may explain the wife’s reluctance but, since this is his first night together with this particular hooker, he decides to leave his toys out of it and save that for when they’re better acquainted. Without his toys, however, the man is rather dull, something that his Tarzan loin cloth does little to save. Insisting that the hooker get down to business because he has to be somewhere else in an hour sex is initiated. What he’s about to discover is that it’s a whole different kind of sex and he’s going to meet an end that still isn’t as weird as Tokyo Gore Police.
‘Damnation’ is a completely different kind of movie but not at all lacking in its own pleasures and gory delights. Out for a drive one day Justine is pulled over by a cop that arrests her for no apparent reason. Her car is stolen and she is dragged before a less than reputable judge to be tried for something she isn’t told about and berated for not being able to defend herself. Before you know it Justine finds herself at the centre of some bizarre medical and judicial Satanic cult punishing anyone who crosses their paths because, inherently, every human is guilty of something. There are strange wardens, police women, doctors and cannibalistic brain-dead women running around that Justine will need to contend with if she has any hope of making it out of there alive.
Needless to say once the couple finishes watching the movies it’s after midnight and they’re about to learn just what the late fee they’ve incurred is.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Some men are always open to a good brain suck.
- Some men are quite willing to exchange their girlfriend’s breasts for banned DVDs.
- Hitchhikers are more than happy to make sweeping statements about your personal life.
- Top quality motel managers ensure there isn’t a DNA sample left behind after an adulterous liaison.
- There’s nothing quite like being in the capable thighs of an experienced call girl.
- The Law of Claw and Fang is still observed by some of the more archaic and brutal law courts.
- In some parts of the world a cannibal eating a pregnant woman is seen as a viable form of birth control.
- For hardcore criminals tracking devices now come fitted with plastic explosives.
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